Wuhan: Fifth seed Saina Nehwal beat third seed Wang Shixian 21-16, 21-19 in the quarterfinals of the Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan, China on Friday to enter the semis. Saina, who is the only remaining Indian shuttler in the competition, beat the higher ranked Chinese player in a tight contest.
Saina raced into an early lead in game 1, winning the first three points of the match. In a game that went to and fro, the players were tied at 4-4, 7-7 and 10-10, before Saina stormed clear, winning five points in a row. Thereafter, she never looked in trouble and went on to win the first game 21-16.
The second game was an even closer affair. After an evenly matched start, the Chinese player raced to a 15-9 lead as the match looked to be heading to a decider. But to Saina’s credit, the 26-year old fought her way back to tie the score at 16 each. After trading a few blows and going back-and-forth for the next few points, Saina had a match point at 20-19 and she duly took the opportunity with both hands to seal her place in the semis.
In the semi-final, Saina will take on the winner of the match between sixth seed Wang Yihan and second seed Nozomi Okuhara.